The Real Reason You’ll Never Make Your Dreams Come True

How to make your dreams a reality

Nothing is worse than when someone feels sorry for themselves and they keep fabricating excuses as to why they can’t do something amazing.

“I could never do that! I’m not as ______ as you.” Bull. Freaking. Crap.

“I don’t have time.” America’s worst lie.

“I don’t know how.” Then learn.

There I said it. I said it all and it’s out in the open. No takesy backsy (that’s right, I just went kindergarten on you.)

Hey, I get it. It’s terrifying jumping into the unknown and taking risks.

If you’re afraid then admit it. Stop beating around the bush and trying to cover your own ass with some flimsy excuse. No one is buying it.

The majority of the excuse generators are young people who have nothing to lose and nothing tying them down. Some people are genuinely bogged down by responsibilities so they’re more easily forgiven. But what about the rest of us?

I had a vision two years ago and for whatever reason, I was motivated as all hell that day. I shared vague details with my family and told them pieces of it to gauge how much support I’d get from them.

The responsive support was an overwhelming zero. If I recall correctly, there was some laughter at my expense.

The plans I told them were the blueprints for the website you’re on right now. That day was the first time a surge of motivation came over me that made me want something more than my body naturally wanted to breathe.

All my life I was known as the guy who slacked off.

The one without goals. The guy who only knew how to get through each day without looking ahead.

I’m not too surprised that my vision two years ago wasn’t taken seriously. I couldn’t take myself seriously. Hell, I used to be one of the people I described in the very first line of this article.

But looking to where I am now I can proudly say that the blueprint I made two years ago was the beginning of an incredible journey. I was onto something amazing at that moment and even though it took a bit more time than expected, good things came out of it.

Was I terrified? You bet. That’s why I waited so long to start. I knew I wanted it more than anything but I was afraid.

I still remember thinking about it almost every night as I showered. I remember looking at the tub floor dreaming about all the interesting things I could be doing. My heart would tug a little at the very thought.

This post marks the 50th published article on Self Stairway and our eighth monthiversary. January 23, 2013 was the day I dived in with both feet and said, “Screw it. I’m going to change the world and make shit happen.” It was the day when I had ran out of excuses and made that bathtub dream a reality.

Last week both the email list and Twitter account hit over 1,000 each. In fact, the email list surpassed the 1,000 mark by another hundred since the time of writing this.

In the past year, I’ve written for websites that get millions of views per month, been interviewed by entrepreneurs, worked as an intern for three companies, and I’ve reached out to millionaires and got their support as I chased after my dream job (just heard back that I got it!) I’ve become a leader and an inspiration for people I may never meet all across the globe (I hope.)

All of these things could have stayed as dreams if I had decided to ignore my vision.

That means my effect on the world would have been erased. The connected dots would cease to exist.

I never would have had the pleasure to experience any of this if I had given up before step one. That’s why inaction scares me more than failure.

You don’t need to have support to make shit happen. It helps, but it’s not a requirement.

You don’t need to be brilliant. The stroke of genius can come to anyone.

You don’t need an infinite amount of time. All you need is a minute of your day.

You don’t need to be talented, or at least not at this exact moment as you can always be learning. Refine your craft every day and you will look back amazed with what you’ve created.

Do you think I have it easy because I’m some sort of fearless cyborg?

Hell no.

Last Saturday I had to present in a room filled with MBAs, alumni, and entrepreneurs who run huge businesses. I was the youngest one there and I didn’t even attend the university this event was being held at. They probably didn’t even know that I don’t own a business, that I attend a community college, and that I was only 19.

My body was numb, my heart was racing faster and harder than it has in a long time, and I wasn’t sure if I was red or not. My hands were shaking just thinking about it.

Guess how I did in this high-pressure environment filled with great expectations?

Are you expecting a happy ending where I went up and gave the best delivery ever despite my crippling fear? Was the whole audience cheering, applauding my efforts? Nope, I did a pretty bad job.

I didn’t want to go because I knew it’d be way out of my league, but I went anyway. Even though I stumbled and executed poorly (in my opinion,) I am so glad I went. I stepped outside my comfort zone and walked away with something new to learn. That’s what you need to do when the opportunity presents itself.

It was a great reality check and I did it because I accepted the fact that I was afraid. Someone else may have said “I don’t want to go anyway,” or they would let the fear get to them and start running the opposite direction. I looked at it as a chance to grow and humble myself.

What you need to do right now is stop believing your own bullcrap excuses and stories. Start admitting that you’re afraid and you’ll be further ahead than you were yesterday. When your heart is beating, hurting, and aching because you’re so freaking scared it means you’re onto something that will make you grow by the end of it.

Picture a life where you go for it and reap all the rewards. Make goals that you want to achieve more than your body wants to breathe. Dream big, so big that you can’t not do it.

There are three months left before 2014 begins.

The beginning of 2013 was the beginning of an amazing chapter in my life story.

My plead to you today is to do something crazy. Get out there and start changing the world, or at least your world. You can be a lot further than you are now and I want you to make it happen before 2014 comes.

You think you could never do what I’ve done? That’s bull-freaking-shit and you know it. I remember how difficult it was to go after something so unknown, but I swear, I swear, you’ll thank yourself for it when it’s all done.

Do you want to know why you haven’t gotten anything done yet? It’s because you keep reading articles like this one, but you never bother to get out and apply.

Stop making excuses and make shit happen. You never know how many lives you’ll touch.

You already know how to change the world. You just haven’t done it yet.

What’s stopping you from making your dreams a reality?

Photo Credits: Ted Eytan, Flickr

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway and founder of Growth Ninja, a digital marketing agency that specializes in Facebook Ads. Voted "Most Guapo" five years in a row (lost during 6th year to a hand model.)

Latest posts by Vincent Nguyen (see all)

58 responses to The Real Reason You’ll Never Make Your Dreams Come True

  1. I actually do think you that you are a fearless cyborg Vincent, but to me that’s a huge compliment, so I hope you don’t take it the wrong way! A great approach to a great message.. the first step towards actually doing something has always been, and will always be, to stop making excuses and simply get going.

  2. I remember when I told people I wanted to be a musician – they laughed. I’m now a professional musician. (guitar teacher).

    I remember telling people several months ago that I want to make an income online so that I can travel and earn on the move – they laughed. I’m a part time freelance writer and earn a small income writing on the internet.

    I told a friend a few weeks ago that I want to do this full time and give up teaching – she laughed.

    It’s already happened.. people just don’t know it yet. Point being, if I want something – eventually it will happen.That much I do know.

    Every negative reaction is a blow to the guts but time passes and we toughen up and learn to ignore the haters. They aren’t telling us that WE can’t do something, they are telling us that THEY are too afraid to even contemplate such a thing. Yet they can, if only they allowed themselves the freedom to believe.

    Inspiring post that I think a lot of people will find value in. Good job!

    • Incredibly inspiring, Jamie! I’m sure your heart ached for a long time seeing how little support you received for something that was important to you. I’m glad to know you’re persevering and make shit happen! πŸ™‚

  3. Another great post- very inspiring!
    Why don’t you write more about you, Vincent? Why and how did you start writing? How did you decide to create this website? Was it easy, was it difficult? Who helped you? Do you have any mentor(s)? Where do you find inspiration for your posts? What keeps you motivated?

    Congratulations for your new job and good luck! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Ana!

      I started writing pretty much right when I opened this site, so January of 2013. As for creating it, the act of making it wasn’t hard, but the small details and getting it to where it is now was difficult.

      A lot of different people steered me in the right direction along the way but I don’t have any dedicated mentors.

      And I write on things that happen and what I see others struggle with. πŸ™‚

      • Vincent my name is Rekem and im 16, and I’m trying to live my dream but I keep failing I try and try and try and I still fail I don’t know what to do anymore I don’t know who to talk to or anything and I’m thinking about giving up plus tell me what to do

  4. When your heart is beating, hurting, and aching because you’re so freaking scared it could mean there is a bear gnawing your tootsies off, but this is a fine post nevertheless, Vincent. My fave part is when you make clear that no support is needed to make shit happen. What a horrible misconception we have that it takes a village to accomplish anything. In fact, in many cases, it feels great to be able to tell oneself that we did it on our own. Have a flapjack Tuesday!!!

  5. Fuck yes on everything here! How crazy is it that your simple decision to follow through on your dream has led to all this? I wonder how many people went the opposite route. How many people are still in shitty jobs or at a shitty school dreaming of a better life. I bet the numbers are staggering.

    You started your blog on the same day that I started my SEO writing biz. Even though I only did that biz for a few months, it set off a chain reaction that has led me here to this place. It’s pretty insane how much can go down in 8 months when you live a life of action. We are moving mountains bro. Keep bashing fear in the face.

    • Dude, I’m still in shock that it’s only been 8 months. So bizarre.

      What a coincidence! I had no idea it was the same day haha.

      We’re both going to have a great future, buddy. πŸ™‚ We’re unstoppable!

      • Congrats again on your achievements man.

        But here’s some wisdom from an older brother. While the highs are great when they happen, be prepared for the dips as well and get prepared to face adversity.

        Stay humble and try your best, but don’t expect all highs.

  6. Congrats on the 50th post, Vincent! Glad to have you joining the team, man.

    You’re right…it’s funny how people think they need to wait until they are X, Y, or Z to start making the changes they need to have the life they want. This deferred life plan is something we all do in certain areas of our lives…a great reminder here to cut that shit out!

    • There he is! I’m glad to be on there. It’s going to be a wild ride (excuse the cliche.)

      Cut that shit out, indeed. You, me, and Joe wouldn’t be doing what we do if we had our dreams deferred!

  7. Well, Vincent. This is fine, fine news indeed. Congratulations on the big job, and I look forward to hearing about it. If you need anyone to sub into you from time to time, I like the maid service and meals…hello! πŸ™‚

    I am totally with you on the you don’t need anyone’s support. Of course, I had CJ’s support when we started our blog, but that was the only person I checked in with before going live. Some people think it’s “weird” (yes, someone used that word) that we blog about our marriage. Some people probably think we’re a bit extreme in our habits, but guess what? It all comes down to doing what you want to do and not what is expected of you. I have been there, done that, and it’s incredibly boring!!!

    I love your message and how you deliver it!

    • Thanks, Tammy! Perhaps once I get adjusted to the remote working life, I can hop by TX and surprise you and CJ as you make your usual coffee shop adventures. The difficulty comes in when I have to figure out where you’d be without asking first! Asking would surely arouse some suspicions.

  8. Vincent,

    I don’t have much time. Just wanted to drop by and say congrats! You’re doing great work, working hard, and it’s paying off. I love watching you chase after your dreams and i can feel the emotion in your writing. Hopefully I can swing by SE Asia on my travels and say hello. Good luck!


  9. Vincent, I love your closing lines about people reading articles and not actually doing anything afterwards. I suffered from this for a while. I say suffered because it IS like an illness you inflict on yourself.

    The motivational vibes fill you and you feel AMAZING after reading a post like this. And then you move onto other mindless tasks in life and….that’s it. Until the next motivational post. And the next….. until 6 months have gone by and the motivation is still there, but nothing in life has changed.

    I say you. But I mean me.

    The amazing thing is that once you start taking some action, you find your own way of making your objectives a reality. And that’s where the magic happens.

    Awesome job on your blog, Vincent. You’ve already achieved what a lot of people dream of – who knows where you will be this time next year!

    – Razwana

    • I think I got stuck in that trap for several months, or even a year, before I started to implement. I definitely know just how easy it is to get that rush only to sit on your butt and… Do nothing with it.

      Thank you for stopping by, Razwana!

  10. Lucky you and Lucky Empire Flippers! You seem like a great person that has finally got the wheel turning, that’s awesome and to realize that you want to make something out of this journey at just 19 is even greater. Just reading this post I can see you are full of energy and it’s almost addictive. As for downs like stated above, their aren’t any if you don’t want them. You can be just as happy learning from mistakes made because you can only learn from them. I think in 5 years from now, you’re going to be a big star and landing that job with Justin is going to be an awesome experience… I’m jealous!!! Good Luck

    • Hey, Marc! Oh definitely. All about perspective so I think occasional failure can be very beneficial if you don’t let it consume you. Truthfully though, I think failing to get the Empire Flippers apprenticeship would have devastated me!

      I really hope it all works out well! It’s going to be interesting. πŸ™‚

  11. Congrats on all your success Vincent!

    You really hit the nail on the head with this post. People need to stop making excuses and just start taking action. I think a lot of people struggle with not knowing how to start or what to do next, but it’s just a matter of doing SOMETHING, whatever you can right now, and then going from there. It simply starts with having a vision, and then taking persistent, purposeful action everyday to keep moving forward.

    I started my blog about 3 months ago, and although it’s still a work in progress, it’s slowly growing more and more everyday and I am determined to turn it into a high-traffic website that will change the lives of thousands of college students around the world. Thanks to the internet we have the potential to reach out to thousands of people and really make an impact on people’s lives, and that’s exactly what you’re doing.

    Even though I only started following your blog fairly recently, you’ve been a huge inspiration to me to keep going. Thanks for the great posts and keep up the good work!

    • Thanks, Stefano! I’m glad to be of inspiration for you. Best of luck with everything you’re doing! Blogging is definitely something fun.

      What helps me through it and ensures I maintain consistency is my mindset. I don’t view it as something I have to do for others. It’s something I want to do for myself because the writing is more for me than for anyone reading it.

      With that said, also be cognizant of the fact that your writing will affect others’ lives. πŸ™‚

      • That’s a good way to think of it. Sometimes I get too caught up in thinking that other people are going to be reading what I write. But really the reason why I started blogging was because I enjoy writing. The fact that it has the potential to reach thousands of people is simply a plus πŸ™‚

      • It’s something I want to do for myself because the writing is more for me than for anyone reading it.

        Rightly said, all the writing is for us and when it is written with that intention it really sets a tone. It is really wonderful to see achieving great results. Action produces results. Being an example and doing our part has an impact in the world.

  12. Vincent, I like the way you present your post, It is really a bold decision to drop out and go after your dreams,. Wish you all success. I just started my blog and wish to stay connected and make things happen along. What is so unique about your site is the upfront openness and the way you weave things from your reality. You are simple rocking Vincent. Your efforts are incredible and you are sure to make it big in the online arena.
    Looking forward for your further post. By the way how many hours you are spending on blog ?

  13. Well done Vincent! As a career coach, excuses come with the territory – and that is all they are. Keep on killing it. FYI – as a fellow former slacker I think that in itself would make a great book!

    • Thanks, Tom! All the help you gave me back when I was going after the RLTM gig helped out so much. I always approach “No way I can do that” with an extra dose of creativity now thanks to you. I’m still working with RLTM too! πŸ™‚

  14. I think fear of the unknown is the biggest, at least for me. We tend to think of all of the bad things that could happen and never focus on the good things. As a result, our fear holds us back. Once we can get hold of this fear and not allow it to control us is when we can truly pursue our dreams.

    • What I like to do when I feel that beginning to pull me back I ask myself when was the last time a catastrophic failure occurred? Was my life ruined? Did I go into a depressive slump?

      No. Never. Consequences were never as bad as I imagined they’d be. The only real suffering was the mental ass-kicking I gave myself.

      Fail enough times and you learn that things aren’t complete shit when you lose on occasion. Let the fear drive you further, but don’t let it stop you.

  15. I remember when I started dreaming about moving to Spain and live there. People thought I was being unresponsible, that I was much better where I was (in Belgium), since I had a job, friends and so on… But my heart, my guts and even my brain were saying something else… so I took a leap of faith, moved there and started a new life there. Never regretted this in my life.
    Powerful post Vincent, and yes, I think you’re like a cyborg. You grew so much in a year, boy… how did you this? But that’s a very motivating post, basically what I read was “what Vincent did – grow a great blog in less than a year – I can do too if I allow myself too”!
    Good luck in Philippines by the way!

    • That’s really great, Nicolas! It must have been horrifying from everyone else’s perspective as they thought you were tossing your life away. Sometimes it looks bizarre from other lens because they don’t see what we do. πŸ™‚

  16. All my life I am know as a guy who slacked off ……

    Open and honest statement, infact it is very difficult to come out of it when it is what is been really perceived about a person.

    Hats off to you for coming out from the mold and make things happen.

    This really inspires taking life into new dimension altogether. End of the day it should matter what has been passed and what people think about us. it should only matter what I want to define myself as and GO for it.

  17. Shame on me! Congratulations on this new challenge you will be facing in November (as I heard). You’ll be close from where I am in Asia and hopefully we can meet somehow! Keep in touch dude πŸ˜‰

  18. Thanku Vincent you make me realise that dreams come true moreover we need only one thing that is commitment n confidence on ourselfs thanku bro

  19. Nice article! When you believe you are worthy of the dream, the dream will happen. Your limiting beliefs stop you from taking the action and creating the dream.

    If that resonates with any of you, this Vlog could help!

  20. I’m gonna save this post for when I’m being kicked down and feel like giving up.
    I’ve just recently come to understand that I am incredible scared. Like, I can hardly even think about my dreams one day come true. It’s llike my mind is telling med it’s untouchable and impossible, but my heart is screaming and aching for it to come true.

    I’m scared to death. Scared to fail, to disappoint not everyone around me, but mostly myself. I’m scared that I can’t handle it. I’m almost too scared to try.

    And still, a feeling linger, a feeling of extremly strong desire to make it reality. A desire to prove to everybody, including myself, than I can do better. That I can put everything I’ve been through behind me, and push forward and make something even greater. And somewhere, deep, deep inside, is a small feeling that says that I know I can make it.
    This post is the best I’ve read in a long time

    • That fear is what we all feel. Some more than others. Some ignore it completely and go out to make incredible things happen. Others let it consume them until inaction is all they know.

      Be the group that makes dreams a reality. πŸ™‚

  21. i’m motivated VINCENT. God bless u.

  22. Amazing article!! Well done! πŸ™‚ X

  23. And what if I have no dream? I’m 16 and have no idea what I want or what my dream is, or even any hobbies or clear interests.

    • When I was 16 I had no idea what I wanted and I had absolutely no hobbies outside of video games. You’ve got PLENTY of time.

      • Hmm. When/how did this change for you?

        • Well, I’d argue despite everything I’ve done in the past couple of years and what I’m currently doing, I still don’t have it quite figured out yet either. No one does.

          What you can do, though, is put yourself in the best situation possible. Read stories about what others are doing and examine their lifestyle. See what resonates most with you.

          Don’t try to stare blankly at a piece of paper and think of something new yourself. Draw inspiration from your models.

  24. I want to be a baker, but my mom said I should start thinking about reality. Why can’t I becoming a baker come true. She wants me pick something but I already did. What’s the point of me living.

  25. Not only I have been dreaming about but also draw it out.

  26. Thomas Spychalski July 27, 2016 at 4:44 am

    So your 19, I’m 38 and your a successful person… Why do I not find it inspiring to know someone 20 years my junior is twenty times better then me?

  27. If this was supposed to make me feel better it failed. People act like crippling anxiety is so easy to get over. And that Talent ( voice acting ) is something just so easily earned when you have no money, no talent, contacts and you’re autistic af.

  28. Not everyone is built with the same drive, everyone is NOT created equal, everyone is NOT raised equal, and not everyone has been blessed with the proper emotional and psychological faculties to get beyond their self-loathing and the inherent unfairness in the world to find the drive to succeed in the face of such overwhelming adversity. The tone of this article isn’t inspirational to those people (like me) – it’s angry, hateful, and full of a complete and total lack of understanding of what those people feel. Judging by the tone in your post I’ll assume you regard these people as ‘excuse makers’ and ‘useless’ and etc etc.

    You actually know nothing of what you’re talking about because it is purely based from your own filtered, biased perspective, and your ‘just do it’ Shia attitude screams it at anyone with even half a brain towards contextual analysis. That does not and is GUARANTEED to not work for everyone, and the vast majority of people who try to ‘just do it’ are going to crash and burn and think back to this article and ask themselves why they followed your advice if all it did was land them in the gutter anyway. The only thing they’d learn is to not ‘just do it’ and instead play it safe; abandon your dreams and work your 9 to 5 to make end’s meet at the end of the day. Happiness is not guaranteed and likely not even in your future. Modern society has ensured that no matter what, only a very small minority of people will ever actually do what they want in life.

  29. What is good also for mankind an unselfish goal. Thanking whoever we are not on earth alone.

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  1. Alexandria T » Benefits of a Dream » Blogs for Learning - January 21, 2014

    […] any other videos or articles on the topic. I found an interesting article that featured a list of common excuses people make to avoid following their dreams and how to avoid them. I then found a page of quotes on […]

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